Legislative Update

Richard Markuson
Region 9 Legislative Advocate
     

2021-22 Legislative Session – Lots of Revenue
The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) said late in April that California’s budget coffers are filling so fast that the state may have to cut taxes and find creative maneuvers to direct money toward government programs in the coming years. A convergence of factors, from massive stock market gains to slow population growth, will likely trigger a rarely invoked appropriations limit that requires California to send tax rebates and spend more money on education once revenues surpass a level tied to spending in the late 1970s. The requirement has created new headaches for California budget writers as revenues keep outpacing projections due to unforeseen economic strength among high-income earners. While the state is tens of billions of dollars ahead of where leaders thought California would be a year ago during the depths of pandemic closures, the path to spending all of that money is murky, as the Analyst’s Office recently outlined. California is expected to have a budget surplus topping $20 billion by the time Gov. Gavin Newsom releases his May budget revision next month. Also, California will see some $26 billion in additional federal funds through 2024 from the national stimulus package approved earlier this year, though that money would not directly affect the spending limit.
The LAO says that besides tax refunds and school spending, some options for Newsom and the state Legislature include:
•    Increasing spending on local governments and capital projects like housing.
•    Cut taxes. However, this could trigger the federal stimulus penalty.
•    Redefine what counts as an exclusion from the Gann Limit. That includes potentially reducing the amount some school districts can spend so the state can spend more on other purposes.
•    Ask voters to provide a temporary increase in the Gann Limit; increase district spending limits; exempt reserve savings from the Gann Limit calculation; or overhaul the Gann Limit entirely.
Another aspect of California’s growing surplus is the effect of Proposition 2. Passed by voters in 2014, Proposition 2 changed budgeting practices concerning (1) reserves and (2) debt payments. Proposition 2 made two significant constitutional changes to state budgeting. First, it created new rules for minimum annual deposits into the Budget Stabilization Account (BSA), the state’s rainy-day fund. Second, Proposition 2 created new requirements that the state spends a minimum amount each year until 2030 to pay down specified debts. Under Proposition 2, the state must continue to deposit funds into the BSA until it reaches a threshold balance of 10 percent of General Fund tax revenue. Once the BSA reaches this threshold, required deposits that would bring the fund above 10 percent of General Fund taxes instead must be spent on infrastructure. (Once at the 10 percent threshold, the Legislature can continue to make optional deposits into the BSA at its discretion.)
Unfortunately, it is unlikely that this capital outlay will occur because the administration proposes lowering the optional balance withdrawal from 2020-21 from $3.1 billion to $1.3 billion. (This results in a corresponding increase in the mandatory withdrawal, from $4.7 billion to $6.5 billion.) By reducing the optional withdrawal from the BSA, the Governor proposes increasing the optional balance and reducing the mandatory balance of the BSA. As a result, reaching the 10 percent threshold for required balances will require more deposits over time. This would delay spending on infrastructure but could increase the overall level of state reserves. You can read the LAO’s analysis of Proposition 2 here.
Legislation


AB 43 (Friedman) Grants Caltrans and local authorities greater flexibility in setting speed limits based on recommendations the Zero Traffic Fatality Task Force made in January 2020.  ASCE position: Watch


AB 377 (Rivas, Robert ) Requires that by January 1, 2025, the State Water Resources Control Board and the Regional Water Quality Control Boards evaluate impaired state surface waters and report to the Legislature a plan to bring all water segments into attainment by January 1, 2050. Requires, by January 1, 2023, the State Water Board and Regional Water Boards to prioritize enforcement of water quality standard violations that are causing or contributing to an exceedance of a water quality standard in a surface water of the state. ASCE position: Disfavor


AB 747 (Mathis) Appropriates $20,000,000 from the General Fund to the State Water Resources Control Board to provide a grant to a joint powers authority composed of the Tule River Indian Tribe and the City of Porterville for a water treatment facility. ASCE position: Watch


AB 754 (Mathis) Allows the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to extend the deadline to submit a groundwater sustainability plan (GSP) by up to 180 days for an agency developing a GSP for a medium- or high-priority basin. ASCE position: Watch


AB 1010 (Berman) Require architects to complete five hours of continuing education training on zero net carbon design for every two-year licensing period ASCE position: Watch


AB 1037 (Grayson) AB 1037 requires any infrastructure project that receives state funding to deploy digital construction technologies. ASCE position: Watch


AB 1161 (Garcia, Eduardo) Requires the Department of Water Resources to only purchase power from projects constructed using project labor agreements. ASCE position: Disfavor


AB 1195 (Garcia, Cristina) Creates the Southern Los Angeles County Human Right to Water Collaboration Act. Requires the State Water Resources Control Board to appoint a Commissioner to implement the Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) Program in southern Los Angeles County. ASCE position: Watch


AB 1329 (Nazarian) Requires the California Building Standards Commission (CBSC) to develop, adopt, and publish building standards requiring that new construction be designed and built to a functional recovery standard for earthquakes. ASCE position: Support


AB 1434 (Friedman) Lowers the indoor residential water use standard from 55 gallons per capita daily (gpcd) to 48 gpcd beginning January 1, 2023, from 52.5 gpcd to 44 gpcd starting January 1, 2025, and from 50 gpcd to 40 gpcd starting January 1, 2030. ASCE position: Disfavor


AB 1447 (Cooley) Establishes the Rural California Infrastructure Act and the Rural California Infrastructure Fund to provide fairground maintenance, disaster preparedness, highway or street maintenance, and historic or cultural preservation projects. ASCE position: SIA


AB 1500 (Garcia, Eduardo) Enacts the Safe Drinking Water, Wildfire Prevention, Drought Preparation, Flood Protection, Extreme Heat Mitigation, and Workforce Development Act of 2022 (Act), a $6.7 billion general obligation bonds to address the impacts of climate change, and places the Act on the November 8, 2022, general election ballot. ASCE position: Watch


ACA 1 (Aguiar-Curry) This measure would authorize a city, county, city and county, or special district to levy an ad valorem tax to service bonded indebtedness incurred to fund the construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or replacement of public infrastructure, affordable housing, or permanent supportive housing, or the acquisition or lease of real property for those purposes, if the proposition proposing that tax is approved by 55% of the voters of the city, county, or city and county, as applicable, and the proposition includes specified accountability requirements. ASCE position: Support


SB 45 (Portantino) This bill would enact the Wildfire Prevention, Safe Drinking Water, Drought Preparation, and Flood Protection Bond Act of 2022, which authorizes the sale of $5.595 billion in general obligation bonds upon approval by voters at the November 2021 statewide general election. Bond funds would be used for projects related to wildfire prevention, safe drinking water, drought preparation, and flood protection. ASCE position: Watch


SB 83 (Allen) This bill would establish the Sea Level Rise Revolving Loan Program through the Coastal Conservancy and the I-Bank collaboration. ASCE position: Watch


SB 222 (Dodd) Would establish the Water Rate Assistance Program, with an unknown source of funding, administered by the Community Services Development Department (CSD) in consultation with the State Water Resources Control Board, to help provide water affordability assistance, for both drinking water and wastewater services, to low-income ratepayers. ASCE position: Watch


SB 223 (Dodd) makes numerous changes to expand provisions related to prohibiting discontinuation of residential water service due to nonpayment ASCE position: Watch


SB 273 (Hertzberg) Authorizes a municipal wastewater agency to acquire, construct, expand, operate, maintain, and provide facilities to manage stormwater and dry weather runoff. ASCE position: Favor


SB 403 (Gonzalez) Authorizes the State Water Resources Control Board to order consolidation between a receiving water system and an at-risk water system under specified circumstances ASCE position: Watch


SB 407 (Archuleta) Expands the definition of land surveying ASCE position: Watch


SB 414 (Jones) Senate Bill 414 extends when a local agency has to hear an appeal to 45 days after an appellant files a request and makes conforming changes. SB 414 also creates a different definition of “cadastral surveying” to mean a survey that creates, marks, defines, retraces, or reestablishes the boundaries and subdivisions of the public land of the United States, or any other field survey of a cadaster that is a public record, survey, or map of the extent and ownership of land. ASCE position: Watch
Reports of Interest


The California Water Boards released the 2021 Drinking Water Needs Assessment “Of the 2,779 public water systems evaluated in the study, nearly half are at some risk of failing to provide an adequate supply of safe drinking water. To measure the health of water systems, the researchers assessed each water system using 19 indicators for water quality, accessibility, affordability, and operational capacity. Based on those assessments, each system received an overall rating indicating how likely it would be to fail…. The researchers found 25% of water systems to be ‘at risk,’ while an additional 23% are ‘potentially at risk.’”

Public Policy Institute of California released a policy brief on Droughts in California, finds most cities are “well-prepared for droughts,” but “many small communities are vulnerable,” particularly those relying on shallow wells that are sensitive to regional groundwater over-pumping,” forecasts that “achieving sustainability may require permanent fallowing of more than 500,000 acres of farmland.” 

The Climate Center released a fact sheet along with a report titled, “Accelerating the timeline for climate action in California,” findings from the fact sheet include: “Over the next ten years, California’s big climate challenges – hotter summers, a shorter rain season, and more destructive wildfires – will grow in intensity by nearly 50%” and the planet will reach “a dangerous level of climate change (an average temperature increase of 2.7℉) as early as 2027 – nearly two decades earlier than initially projected.” 

Appointments of Interest by the Governor
As State Architect at the Department of General Services, Division of the State Architect: Ida Antonelli Clair, Elk Grove, acting in the role since 2019.
As Deputy Secretary for water at the California Natural Resources Agency: Nancy Vogel, Sacramento, director of the Governor’s Water Portfolio Program since 2019.
To the Colorado River Basin Regional Water Quality Control Board: Beatriz Gonzalez, Thermal, district coordinator of Expanded Learning Programs at the Coachella Valley Unified School District since 2011; Vivian Perez, Holtville, center manager at Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest since 2016 and faculty member at University of Phoenix since 2010.
To the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board: Essra Mostafavi, Bishop, founder/CEO of Geode Environmental Inc. since 2017.
To the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board: Donald Young, Morgan Hill, senior vice president at Salas O’Brien since 1998. 
To the Delta Stewardship Council: Virginia Madueno, Riverbank, managing partner at SanGuard LLC since 2020, co-owner and director of marketing communications at World Tile Design and Showroom since 2014, and president and CEO at Imagen LLC since 2003. 


Disaster Preparedness Update

by Doug Taylor, P.E., M.ASCE
Chair, ASCE Region 9 Disaster Preparedness Committee

Wildfires are the “New” California Disaster
It’s been a long time since Safety Assessment Program (SAP) volunteers were needed after a major earthquake in California.  Not so with fires.  In 2019, 21 SAP-trained and certified volunteers from ASCE assisted the town of Paradise to perform rapid inspections of approximately 18,000 homes and commercial properties following the deadly Camp Fire.  Last September, not even a year later, 15 ASCE SAP volunteers living in the area of Fresno assisted Fresno County to do rapid assessments of roughly 2,000 homes after the Creek Fire, California’s largest in terms of acres burned.  A week later, more ASCE SAP volunteers assisted Napa County after that fire.  All these volunteers were trained and pre-certified so they could respond when they were needed.
To get trained and certified before COVID, you had to attend a 5-to-6-hour session IN PERSON, typically given on a Saturday.  But now you can get trained and certified in the comfort of your home via Zoom.  No travelling, no expense for meals or the training site… it’s all FREE!
I’m hosting SAP training/certification via Zoom on Saturday, August 21st starting at 9:00 am.  These Zoom sessions go quicker than the in-person sessions, so expect to be done by 1:00 pm.  Just email me at dtaylor@outbackmaterials.com and give me your full name, cell phone number and whether you’re a licensed engineer or “other” professional.  I’m only registering licensed PEs for this session (no EITs for now).
I hope you’ll take advantage of this opportunity.  Then you’ll be ready to help people who desperately need your skills.
 
San Diego Section Newsletter Article

Final Major Capital Improvement Project at the Miramar Water Treatment Plant, the Miramar Clearwells Improvements Reaches Completion 

by Ed Matthews, PE, Principal Professional, Kleinfelder


At $110 million, the Miramar Clearwells Improvements project has been the largest current capital improvement project for the City of San Diego since 2016. This project essentially replaces the last vestiges of the original Miramar Water Treatment Plant (WTP) – first constructed in 1959. The Miramar WTP supplies treated water to approximately 600,000 North San Diego customers. 

Two finished water reservoirs within the WTP – Clearwells 1 and 2, built in 1959 and 1974, respectively – each at the end of their service life, required replacement with new clearwells designed for modern seismic codes. This project provided advanced flexibility in operation, maintenance, and disinfection, culminating in the WTP’s ultimate capacity of 215 million gallons per day (MGD) and enhancing its ability to respond to changing water quality conditions with full redundancy and reliability for its customers. 

As the prime consultant, Kleinfelder provided engineering management, design, and construction support services, mobilizing talent from across the U.S. The addition of a 215 MGD pump station required physical modeling in accordance with Hydraulic Institute standards, and the resulting design was custom-engineered for providing the necessary hydraulic grade line through the Miramar WTP for current and future maximum flows.

The Miramar Clearwells Improvement project included:
•    Replacing Clearwells 1 and 2 with two new, seismically designed, 29.5 million gallon (MG) clearwells (59 MG total storage capacity)
•    New instrumentation, analyzer panels for chemical addition, level control, and four dedicated flowmeters 
•    Dual-train chlorine contact chamber with new chemical gallery for flow-paced dosing of ammonia, caustic soda, and fluoride, with two dedicated 72-inch-diameter flowmeters
•    215 MGD low-lift pump station, including a 1:8 scale physical model 
•    New 6,000-square-foot (SF) maintenance facility 
•    New guard house and state-of-the-art security system
•    Electrical building
•    1 megawatt (MW) photovoltaic solar system
•    New landscaping
•    Improvements to the Miramar Pipeline and Miramar 2A Pipeline
•    Replacement and re-routing of chemical piping systems for operator safety

As part of the design, and to support community outreach efforts, Kleinfelder rendered construction and modeled the interim milestones (Maintenance of Plant Operations) and finished facilities using our state-of-the-art 3D Building Informational Modeling (BIM), which provided vital information to the designers, the contractor, and the community regarding the essential planned improvements. 

The design team (IEC, Arcadis, Ross Engineering Group, Marum Partnership, Allied Geotechnical Engineers, Martin & Libby) was maintained through the nearly five years of construction, and substantial agency coordination was also required.

The project met all major milestones on schedule and completed the last stages of startup in January 2021 – all with zero unplanned outages of service to over 600,000 customers in Northern San Diego. 

The project received the American Public Works Association (APWA) San Diego and Imperial Counties Chapter Public Works Project of the Year Award (Utilities Category) in May 2021 and will ensure the safe delivery of clean potable water for decades to City residents.

Miramar Clearwell Improvements – January 2021
 

Legislative Update

Richard Markuson
Region 9 Legislative Advocate
     

March 2021 – Getting back to some normalcy  
After the Legislature passed and Governor Newsom signed into law a legislation package to provide needed relief to individuals, families, and businesses suffering the most significant economic hardship due to COVID-19, the Legislature commence both budget and policy hearings in March. One remaining piece of COVID-19 legislation was the enactment of SB 95 (Skinner). This bill mandates that employers expand supplemental paid sick leave for COVID-19-related absences. SB 95, which took effect on March 29, 2021, applies retroactively to applicable leave taken on or after January 1, 2021, and remains in effect until September 30, 2021. Thus, covered employers must provide Supplemental COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave beginning on March 29, 2021, and covered employees who took qualifying leave between January 1 and March 28 may request retroactive payment for leave taken during that period.


Other Legislation
This month we’ll review Senate bills.
SB 22 (Glazer) school facilities: would place on the ballot the Public Preschool, K–12, and College Health and Safety Bond Act of 2022 as a state general obligation bond act that would provide $15,000,000,000 to construct and modernize education facilities. It requires the department of general services to prioritize projects for funding, including a project labor agreement (PLA).


SB 44 (Allen) California Environmental Quality Act: Establishes expedited administrative and judicial review of environmental review and approvals granted for “environmental leadership transit projects” that meet specified requirements.


SB 45 (Portantino) would enact the Wildfire Prevention, Safe Drinking Water, Drought Preparation, and Flood Protection Bond Act of 2022, which, if approved by the voters, would authorize the issuance of bonds for $5,510,000,000 under the State General Obligation Bond Law to finance projects for wildfire prevention, safe drinking water, drought preparation, and flood protection program.


SB 66 (Allen) would establish an advisory committee, the California Council on the Future of Transportation, to provide recommendations for changes in state policy to ensure that autonomous vehicles enhance the state’s efforts to increase road safety, promote equity, and meet public health and environmental objectives.


SB 83 (Allen) would create the Sea Level Rise Revolving Loan Program within the I-Bank to provide low-interest loans to local jurisdictions to purchase coastal properties in their jurisdictions identified as vulnerable coastal property.


SB 223 (Dodd) This bill would apply current law that prohibits an urban and community water system from discontinuing residential water service for nonpayment until payment by a customer has been delinquent for at least 60 days, to a very small community water system, defined as a public water system that supplies water to 200 or fewer service connections used by year-long residents.


SB 230 (Portantino) would require the State Water Resources Control Board to establish, maintain, and direct an ongoing, dedicated program called the Constituents of Emerging Concern Program to assess the state of information and recommend areas for further study on, among other things, the occurrence of constituents of emerging concern (CEC) in drinking water sources and treated drinking water. 


SB 273 (Hertzberg) Water quality: municipal wastewater agencies. would authorize a municipal wastewater agency to enter into agreements with entities responsible for stormwater management to manage stormwater and dry weather runoff, to acquire, construct, expand, operate, maintain, and provide facilities for specified purposes relating to managing stormwater and dry weather runoff, and to levy taxes, fees, and charges consistent with the municipal wastewater agency’s existing authority to fund projects undertaken under the bill. 


SB 313 (Durazo) California Competes tax credit: refunds. would require a qualified taxpayer who receives a tax refund to reinvest the refund into immobile capital equipment that supports infrastructure improvements, expansion, or developments for media production facilities in the state. The project must include a PLA.


SB 318 & 319 (Melendez)  Land use: development fee or charge: audit: auditor standards. Makes various changes to the audit provisions in the Mitigation Fee Act.


SB 339 (Wiener) Vehicles: road usage charge pilot program. Extends the California Road Charge Pilot Program from 2023 until 2027.


SB 403 (Gonzalez) Drinking water: consolidation. This bill would authorize the State Water Resources Control Board to order consolidation where a water system serving a disadvantaged community is at risk of failing to provide an adequate supply of safe drinking water or where a poor neighborhood is substantially reliant on domestic wells that are at risk of failing to provide a good supply of safe drinking water.


SB 407 (Archuleta) Professional Land Surveyors’ Act. Expands the definition of land surveying.


SB 414 (Jones) would define cadastral surveying for purposes of the Professional Land Surveyors’ Act.


SB 475 (Cortese) Transportation planning: sustainable communities strategies. Would require the State Air Resources Board, on or before June 30, 2023, and in coordination with the California Transportation Commission and the Department of Housing and Community Development, to issue new guidelines on sustainable communities strategies and require these guidelines to be updated after that at least every four years.


SB 552 (Hertzberg) Drought planning: small water suppliers: nontransient noncommunity water systems. Would require small water suppliers and nontransient noncommunity water systems that are schools, no later than December 31, 2022, to develop and submit to the Division of Drinking Water, State Water Resources Control Board an emergency response plan that includes specified drought-planning elements.


SB 559 (Hurtado) Department of Water Resources: water conveyance systems: would establish the Canal Conveyance Capacity Restoration Fund in the State Treasury to be administered by the Department of Water Resources; the money would be used for subsidence repair costs, including environmental planning, permitting, design, and construction, and necessary road and bridge upgrades required to accommodate capacity improvements.


SB 580 (Hueso) Department of Transportation: highways and roads: recycled plastics study and specifications. Would authorize Caltrans to conduct a study to assess the feasibility, cost-effectiveness, and life-cycle environmental benefits of including recycled plastics in asphalt used as a paving material in the construction, maintenance, or rehabilitation of a highway or road. 


SB 626 (Dodd) Department of Water Resources: Procurement Methods. Would require the Department of Water Resources, on all projects delivered by the department, to use department employees or consultants under contract with the department to perform all project design and engineering services related to design and construction inspection services required for the CM/GC method of construction.


SB 640 (Becker) Transportation financing: jointly proposed projects. This bill would authorize cities and counties to jointly submit to the California Transportation Commission a list of proposed projects funded by the cities and counties’ apportionments of Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Account funds.


SB 671 (Gonzalez) Transportation: Clean Freight Corridor Efficiency Assessment. Would establish the Clean Freight Corridor Efficiency Program, to be jointly administered by the California Transportation Commission and State Air Resources Board, in coordination with other state entities.


SB 674 (Durazo) Public Contracts: workforce development: transportation-related contracts. Would require public agencies to develop a program, known as the California Jobs Plan Program, to meet specified objectives, including, as a component of applications for covered public contracts, the creation of a form that states the minimum numbers of proposed jobs that are projected to be retained and created if the applicant wins the covered public contract, and offered wages, benefits, and investment in training.


SB 683 (Ochoa Bogh) Water quality: regional municipal separate storm sewer system permits. Would require, to the extent permitted by federal law, a regional board that issues a separate municipal storm sewer system permit under the federal national pollutant discharge elimination system (NPDES) permit program to a region rather than to an individual discharger to include specified elements in the permit and to meet and collaborate with the permittees before or during the permit writing process.


SB 776 (Gonzalez) Safe drinking water and water quality. Current law provides that the California Safe Drinking Water Act does not apply to small state water systems, except as specified. This bill would expand the application of the act to small state water systems.


SCR 16 (Caballero) proclaim the week of March 7, 2021, to March 13, 2021, inclusive, as Women in Construction Week.


SCR 20 (Ochoa Bogh) designates April 4, 2021, to April 10, 2021, inclusive, as Women and Girls in STEM Week and would encourage all citizens and community organizations to support the observance of California’s Women and Girls in STEM Week by encouraging and celebrating women in the STEM fields.


Reports of Interest
Caltrans has released its “California Transportation Plan 2050,” which outlines policies for achieving the state’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation to 80 percent below 1990 emissions levels by 2050. 

State Water Resources Control Board Division of Water Quality has released a staff report with recommendations on adapting the water rights permitting process to account for climate change. Suggestions include: “leverage existing climate change data” in issuing permits for analyses of water available for development projects, “prepare for and capitalize on capturing flood flows and storing them underground,” and “plan for droughts.” 

Air Resources Board, Public Utilities Commission, and Energy Commission released “SB 100 Joint Agency Report: Charting a path to a 100% Clean Energy Future,” findings include that to achieve SB 100’s goal of fulfilling 100% of the state’s electrical demand with renewable and zero-carbon energy sources by 2045 “California will need to roughly triple its current electricity grid capacity” and it “may need to build up to 6 gigawatts of new renewable and storage resources annually,” while in comparison state has built an average of 1.3 gigawatts annually over the last ten years.

Legislative Analyst’s Office has released “Department of Toxic Substance Control Budget Analysis,” which recommends approving the Governor’s proposal to establish a Board of Environmental Safety to “improve transparency and promote greater accountability” of DTSC; also suggests the Legislature consider a tax increase for the Toxic Substance Control Account to “keep the fund solvent and expand cleanup-related activities.” 

Appointments of Interest by the Governor
To the California Water Commission: Alexandre Makler (reappointed), Berkeley, senior vice president, West Region at Calpine Corporation since 2014; Jose Solorio, Santa Ana, government affairs officer at Moulton Niguel Water District since 2018. 
To the California Transportation Commission: Darnell Grigsby, Oakland, executive director at TransForm since 2020; Joseph Tavaglione (reappointed), Riverside, president at Tavaglione Construction and Development since 1962.
Reappointed to the State Water Resources Control Board: E. Joaquin Esquivel, Sacramento, has served since 2017 and serves as Chair.
 

Transportation & Development Committee

By Shari Tavaf, Chair

Dear Region 9 (California) ASCE members;
As I reflect on the most unusual year we have all lived through, I look forward to all the positive opportunities ahead as we reopen California and our nation.


As the new Chair of the Transportation and Development committee for the Region 9, I am very excited to be collaborating with the highly respected professionals in our industry in my new role.   To take advantage of the momentum built by the previous leadership, I would like to invite new members to join our committee to participate in our crucial activities going forward.


In light of the importance of transportation and housing to the new administration in Washington and our continued challenges in California in both housing and transportation sectors, our committee has a great opportunity to influence the future of our state and our industry.


Our committee’s mission is:
Actively track and evaluate state assembly and senate bills to support better transportation and development policies throughout California. Educate lawmakers on the feasibility and ramifications of rules and laws under consideration by building a trusted advisory liaison with their offices.

Collaborate with other ASCE committees toward assessing the California infrastructure sustainability and reliability in response to natural disasters and delayed maintenance risks.  


Support and organize the Transportation Track for the annual Infrastructure Symposium in Region 9.
We are open to new ways of becoming more impactful as advocates for effective and reliable infrastructure in California, especially for transportation and housing to ensure a better quality of life for all.  Better housing and transportation will in turn support the efficiency of the companies that operate in California and rely on the world-renowned talent who live here.


As we experience the big shift in how we live and work due to Covid, we will have several opportunities and challenges to improve infrastructure planning and delivery, maintenance and operations as well as the many aspects of transportation, transit, housing and transit-oriented development.


The key activities of the committee for the upcoming year are:
o    Review of draft bills from the California assembly and senate as well as any national bills that will impact transportation and development policies in California (national ASCE will support Federal law-making processes)
o    Participate in California and National Legislative fly-ins
o    Support the annual symposium activities
Currently our committee is busy reviewing 18 draft bills introduced in the state assembly and senate and as more bills are introduced and revised, we definitely could use your assistance.  We look forward to your participation and encourage you to take an active role in ASCE – Region 9 – Transportation and Development committee.  If you are interested, please contact the Chair of the committee: shariatstrada@gmail.com.

     
California Infrastructure Symposium and Awards Recognition Event

By Daniel Cronquist, 

Chair, 2021 CAIS Chair

I am excited to announce that the 2021 California Infrastructure Symposium will be held on June 24th and 25th hosted by the ASCE Los Angeles Section and ASCE Region 9. The program will be brought to you virtually using the same platform as last year’s successful event. The event will be from 8:00 AM to 1:30 PM, each day.


The program will include 23 speakers divided into two tracks; water and transportation. These dynamic speakers will present on exciting and timely topics. Our four keynote speakers are:


Randy Iwasaki – Leader, State and Local Government Transportation
Amazon Web Services
Toks Omishakin – Director
California Dept. of Transportation
General Paul Owen – Commander and Division Engineer of the South Pacific Division
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
California Senator Anthony Portantino
Senate District 25


We are also introducing this year a student competition, where teams of students will give a video presentation on their senior projects. A panel discussion on career development is also included that will be beneficial to students and professionals alike.
The cost to attend our virtual event is $50 for professionals and $10 for students. Please visit our website (https://caisregion9.org/) for more information. Sponsorship opportunities are still available by visiting the website as well. 
On the evening of June 24th we will also be hosting the ASCE Region 9 annual Awards Recognition Event. These awards represent the best of the nominations from our local branches and sections throughout the state for project and individual awards. This will also be a virtual event and you can purchase your tickets from https://caisregion9.org/.

 
Region 9’s
Infrastructure Policy Committee

By Yazdan T. Emrani, P.E., ENV SP

Chair, Infrastructure Policy Committee

California, in some respects, is a microcosm of our nation. We are a culturally diverse and rapidly growing state. As such, our infrastructure is beginning to show its age. With close to 40 million residents, California is the most populated state in the country and its economy ranks as the world’s fifth largest economy. This trend is expected to continue into the foreseeable future. Over the next 20 years, California is expected to grow at a rapid pace. Based on some estimates, our state will add an additional 10 million residents over the next 20 years, putting California’s population at a staggering 50 million people. A well-designed and maintained infrastructure anchors our economy and secures our quality of life. Investment in infrastructure is vital to our state’s productivity, competitiveness, and economic well-being.
However, one of the biggest impediments to maximizing long-term economic growth is the urgent need to modernize our nation’s infrastructure. The cost of inaction is too high for all Americans who depend on reliable, modernized infrastructure.


The 2019 California Infrastructure Report Card (“CAIRC”) evaluated 17 categories of our State’s infrastructure and assigned a letter grade to each.  The overall average of the 17 categories was ‘C-‘.  (This compares to an overall of average of ‘C’ in the 2012 CAIRC.)  Of the 17 categories, eleven are in mediocre condition and six are in poor condition.  The Report Card outlines key areas where California’s infrastructure is doing well and where it could improve.


To that end, Infrastructure Policy Committee or IPC is a Region 9 committee that has been working to develop a framework to publicize the results of the CAIRC in ways that can resonate with the general public. This includes efforts to promote the results and recommendations of the 2019 California Infrastructure Report Card to technical (ASCE, APWA, AWWA, etc.) as well as non-technical (Chambers of Commerce, Parent Teacher Association, or PTAs, business groups, etc.) audiences throughout California.


The valuable policy recommendations contained within the CAIRC, which if implemented will improve and raise the overall grade for all of the infrastructure categories. IPC is working on potential policy positions for legislative considerations using these policy positions.
I invite all those involved in the preparation of the Report Card, or other concerned members to let me know if you would be interested in getting involved with our committee at some level. This could include helping us with updating of Region 9’s website with regards to our efforts. We are also looking for volunteers that would be interested in helping us develop promotional videos for the CAIRC. Finally, we are looking for folks who would be interested in going out and speaking in front of various groups and publicizing the Report Card results and recommendations. We are looking for a few additional members in both Northern, as well as Southern California. Specifically, we need volunteers from Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego sections.   


ASCE Region 9 created the 2019 CAIRC as a public service to citizens and policymakers to inform them of the infrastructure needs in the state.  Developing the grades was a lot of hard work, by a lot of folks. We need to make sure that this work continues and that we help spread the message. If you are interested in helping with any of the aforementioned tasks, please feel free to contact me at yemrani@glendaleca.gov.  
A full copy of the 2019 California Infrastructure Report Card is available at www.ascecareportcard.org